Welcome to Life Elevated Mom!

Changin’ changin’ changin’.

There are so many big changes going on in my family’s life and we still feel like we’re coming up for air! Since I’m now a Utah mom blogger, change is in order.

A shift I’ve been wanting to make for a while is the name of this blog. First, I was the Crazy Bloggin’ Canuck. Then I was The Mile High Mama. And now, I’m Life Elevated Mom. Be sure to change your bookmarks and subscriptions from themilehighmamas.com to lifeelevatedmom.com.

I love this new title because it encapsulates my mantra: Adventures with Altitude, joy and being surrounded by all-things uplifting.

Here’s to a new high-flying adventure with plenty of humor along the way.

One Week Move-in-anniversary

I’m writing this blog post on Saturday, October 15, 2016. One week ago today we unloaded our PODs and officially moved into our house the following Tuesday. Life has been a whirlwind for 10 months but nothing (except for when we moved from Colorado) has been more exhausting than the last seven days. I injured my good knee running down the Mid-Mountain Trail so I’ve been hobbling around on two sore knees because the pace of unpacking and getting organized has been unrelenting. I’ve been too busy to be homesick for Denver and that is a good thing. In Utah’s mountains, September hits in glorious full force but by October, the fall colors are winding down and, though the temperatures are still mild in the 60s, winter is knocking on the door. October in Denver was my favorite month of the year and I’m trying not to think about it.

What I want to remember about this week:

Last Saturday.

We unloaded the PODs. We were so grateful to have several men from the Elder’s Quorum at church come help as well as friends and family. We took about two hours to unload and thanks to my friend Sarah and Jamie’s mom Linda, we were able to unpack the kitchen that afternoon. Having a mostly functional kitchen is my first step in feeling at home; Jamie’s is apparently hooking up the TVs because that’s how he spent most of his time. #Priorities.

Friends Lori and Robert come to help that afternoon and drive with Jamie to Park City to pickup our large farm table, only to realize it doesn’t fit through our front door. Yay. Need to either take off the door or remove the legs so it has been housed in our garage.

Bode has been missing our Denver life like crazy. We flew Hadley to Utah for Girl’s Camp last summer so she had an instant network of friends but Bode has been slower to make connections. My heart was so full to see neighborhood boys flock to our house to hang out…and they’ve continued to knock on our door every day to invite him to play.

Early evening, we drove back to Park City to sleep in the townhome for the next few nights. Bode and I hot-tubbed under the stars, a memorable wind-down to a memorable two months.


Drove back to Midway for church, enjoyed meeting a lot of new people at our ward’s “Linger Longer” after church with root beer floats and super friendly people. I looooove how inclusive our new ward is and we’re already making a lot of friends.

Day II of Operation Declutter the House. Our goal was to dig out the beds and find the sheets. Mostly successful but the amount of boxes everywhere was still overwhelming. Bunked in Park City. Hot-tubbed to soak our sore muscles, relishing every last drop.


After driving to Midway and dropping off the kids for school, I spent the day unpacking our bedrooms, working with the Dish Network guy (who was from my mom’s hometown Raymond) and a gazillion other miscellaneous projects. Tried not to have a sore attitude about the Master Bedroom, the room I hate the most in the house (it’s so small we can’t fit both dressers and the closet is such a joke I have nowhere to put my shoes or laundry basket). Master plan once we finish the basement is for Bode and Hadley to move downstairs and we’ll knock out the closet into Bode’s current room to give us more space. My only consolation of the Master bedroom? This view.

We’d planned to move in by Wednesday but I announced to Jamie the house might be functional enough to sleep in by Tuesday night.


Jamie drove the kids to school while I stayed at the townhome in Park City to finish packing and cleaning. What I thought would take a couple of hours took six and I was so exhausted by the end of it, that I rewarded myself with my mushroom bisque obsession from Cafe Zupas. And then unloaded and unpacked everything once I arrived at our house. Moving sucks!

I’ve missed the majority of Bode’s soccer season due to the insane amount of driving I’ve been doing but was delighted to take in his final game where his team won and he scored a hat trick. The advantage of missing competitive try-outs and being the oldest on your rec league team: superstar! 

That night before bed, we stood out on the deck marveling at the stars and the twilight outline of the mountains. We were home!


Got the kids out the door on time fed and mostly clothed. Hailed that glorious thing called THE NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL bus after surviving 160+ hours shuttling the kids back and forth from Park City. The house is total chaos with the landscaping crew digging out our front yard’s sprinkler system and the basement under construction. Our house has three very small bedrooms upstairs so we hired a great local contractor, Jordan, to finish two rooms in the basement: Hadley’s bedroom and Jamie’s den. By Wednesday, he already had the two rooms framed. Progress!

Finished unpacking the majority of the main level and cleaned up all the clutter so the house looked almost presentable! My friend Lori came to help setup Bode’s bed and tackle the disastrous basement by setting up shelves. I worked long into the night and posted this on Facebook:

“Our neighbors unloaded their PODs on the same day as us and I spotted the sweet wife yesterday. She: 1) Parked her car in the garage (where is all their crap?) 2) Already has her house decorated for Halloween and 3) Took a shower. #AreTheseUtahnsForReal?”  I didn’t post that to criticize; I was merely in awe.

We don’t have a table, chairs, washer or dryer hooked up and a million other things…but you can rest easily knowing the pumpkin patch/greenhouse was being prepped.


Electrician finished up on the two rooms in the basement. $#&*$# builder didn’t install an electrical panel big enough to support any other outlets so we had to replace the whole thing (another unbudgeted $1,000 down the tubes). Worked my arse off to finish organizing the basement into five areas: cold storage, regular storage room, great room storage, den/Hadley’s crafting space and home theater room. It will be a while until we can afford to finish the entire basement but we want to make it as functional as possible. Once Hadley and Jamie are moved in downstairs (hopefully within the next few wees), we’ll make the adjacent Great Room Bode’s play area (mostly because he can’t fit his toys in his bedroom).


Organized the garage (oh, the horror with all of Jamie’s pumpkin C-R-A-P). Priority after finishing the basement: Build a shed. Needed Jamie’s help to build all the metal shelves in the basement and garage so temporarily organized our three-car garage into two general areas: Jamie’s stuff and recreational equipment. Wading through it all put me in a worse mood than the basement, primarily because we have a ton more space downstairs. The good news is we’ll now be able to park our cars and trailer in the garage once the snow flies. We likely won’t have time to setup shelves and truly organize the garage until spring and I’m totally OK with that.

Went to the Heber Valley dumping station (nicest “dump” I’ve ever seen) and rewarded ourselves with pumpkin cheesecake shakes from Dairy Keen. Oh, how our Friday nights have changed.

That night as Jamie prayed at dinner, he said he was thankful for the “food upon this table” to which I irreverently interjected, “we don’t have a table.”  Vowed to get that blasted table inside by the end of the weekend.


Slept in until 7 p.m. After my manic week of 3:30 and 4:30 a.m. wake-ups, this felt like a dream! Jamie left the house early to unload compost for the yard while I had my first leisurely morning in months. Worked from bed (looked at our view every few seconds), made fresh strawberry syrup  from scratch for our pancakes and it felt wonderful to finally spend some time in the kitchen!

The afternoon, we organized Bode’s room and cleaned the house. That evening while Hadley babysat Bode and our friends Ben and Sarah’s kids, we went on a double-date to dinner and the evening session of Stake Conference. The perfect end to one crazy week.


Thus ends our first full week in the Heber Valley!

My first impressions of our home? I love it overall. Everything is crisp, new and beautiful. We have granite countertops, white cabinets and hardwood floor, which we never had in our old house. I especially love the larger kitchen and pantry! But we’ve downsized. Significantly. And until we finish the basement (especially those two rooms), we have essentially crammed two levels from our old house into just one and it’s causing a lot of headaches. Hadley is temporarily bunking down in my office and since my closet only has shelves, she has split her wardrobe between Bode’s and my closet. Bode’s toys are still in in boxes because there’s nowhere to unpack them and Jamie’s office is crammed into the bay window of our very small Master bedroom.

And somehow with all the headaches, stress and sore bodies, this gorgeous little plot already feels like home.

Top 15 Park City Adventures in the Fall

I’ve long skied Park City in the winter, cruised down the alpine coaster in the summer but have never been there in the off-season.  Park City’s fall has unfolded like a gorgeous wave, starting with the crimsons and burnt oranges of the oaks and maples, and ending with the pure liquid aspen gold.

Though I’ve wanted to adventure daily, I’ve been limited on time between chauffeuring kids, household chores and work but I’ve made a point to get out at least a few times a week. Near the end of our stay, I stopped in to White Pine Touring for a map of area trails and was pleased to discover I’d managed to hit all the major hubs. Not bad for a rookie!

Here’s a recap of my Park City adventures:

1) Biking around the base of Park City Canyons Village did not suck. Their $21 hamburgers did. 

2) Biking the Millennium Trail from the townhome to Gorgoza Park. This paved trail system provides connectivity throughout the Snyderville Basin and Park City and goes for miles.

3) Willow Creek Trail. This was a fun one to unearth. I was planning to explore the trail that winds down to Historic Main Street when I discovered the Willow Creek trail system that winds around 66 acres of undeveloped open space under a conservation easement with Utah Open Lands. Willow Creek Park is one of the best in Park City.

4) No worries, I took the trail to downtown Park City another day and was not disappointed.

5) Nighttime strolls up to the base of Canyons Village and fun photo filters. This was taken literally right outside our door.

6) Shoe Tree Park. This one was a delight to uncover during my bike ride along the McCleod Trail/ Willow Creek/Hwy 224 Connector  that extends from Kimball Junction to Downtown Park City. You know a town is cool when it has a funky park with shoes, cowboy boots and even ski boots in the trees.

And strange red moss nearby.

7) Deer Valley is a splurge but for girl’s night, we had a glorious time exploring the trails adjacent to the St. Regis. Luxury ain’t free but these fall colors were.

8) If you’re going to do just one exploration in Park City, I highly recommend following the paved trail to the picturesque white barn known as the “McPolin Farm.” Heaped in history, this 100-year-old barn received national status as an Historic Landmark.

Launching kids in the air en route: highly recommended.

9) Most of my mountain biking expeditions had been on paved or easy trails but this was my foray into singletrack and it might be my favorite fall ride ever! Skid Row: I highly recommend it. #ThingsINeverWould HaveSaidBeforeMovingtoParkCity

10) One of my longtime bloggers connected me with her sister Sheri who moved to Park City last year. You’ll never find me in her hot yoga class but a friendship was borne as we climbed Ecker Hill.

11) Trailside Park. I took a different route home from dropping off the kids and stumbled upon an irresistible network of trails and bike park. When I got out of the car to explore in the rain (without the proper gear, of course), the song “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder” played on the radio. No chance of that with wonders around every corner in Park City.

12) My friend Kristen lives in my dream home in Jeremy Ranch. Literally right at her fingertips is the Glenwild Area’s expansive network of trails. She, Lexi and I had so much fun exploring one day…

…that I had to return a few days later to explore the Flying Dog Trail. 

13) Guardsman Pass Scenic Byway connects Heber to Park City to Salt Lake City. I have only three words for this view of the Heber Valley: Oh. My. Gosh.

14) Round Valley wasn’t particularly scenic (unless you like sage brush and scrub oak) but for the novice mountain biker, it’s a pretty amazing place. I tackled a couple of different trailheads: hiked from The Cove (and got a bit lost before meeting Jamie for lunch) and mountain biked Silver Quinn–the paved trail from Quinn’s Junction–to City Park and then hopped on the adjacent singletrack for a wild ride on Rambler. 

14) The Rail Trail is a highly-touted abandoned railroad corridor-turned-non-motorized path that travels 28 miles out of town. I biked 6 miles from the White Pine Touring trailhead to Prospector and it was so underwhelming (unless you like cows that run in front of you) that I did a big loop by biking along the Old Highway 40, crossing to the other side, following Silver Quinn through City Park and then reconnecting with the Rail Trail. At least the ride back was considerably more scenic. Sorry, bovines. You needed to MOOOOVE over.

15) Mid-Mountain. My friend Dave has been raving about his love for mountain biking the famed Mid-Mountain trail at Park City resort for years. An intimate and spectacular trail that sits at about 8,000 feet, it spans 28 miles. There are many options for places to start, one of the most popular being Silver Lake Lodge at Deer Valley. Since we lived at the “finish line” a.k.a. Canyons Village, I planned to do it backwards…but didn’t realize it’s quite a trek just to reach mid-mountain. And so I did a couple of mini-treks that started right in our Sun Peak neighborhood at Rob’s Trail. The problem: I was always short on time so could only hike a couple of miles. 

On another day, I set out to walk around the Sun Peak neighborhood when I discovered a higher access point for Rob’s trail so did a big loop but was frustrated not to have time to reach Mid-Mountain. I came home and ranted to Jamie [without taking a breath]: “I started to take a neighbor walk but then discovered even more trails and I had to take them even though I didn’t have any time, water or supplies and there are even more trails I have to go back and explore because I couldn’t hike them all today and I’ll NEVER be able to hike them all and…curse you, Park City!”

Jamie [without flinching]: “I don’t know if you’re lying to me or you’re lying to yourself.”#TheEntireDynamicOfOurMarriageSummedUp

A week later, I set out to hike that higher access point for Rob’s Trail off Bear Hollow Drive. I was pressed for time: we had our house’s walk-through that afternoon so I needed to make it quick. From the very beginning, it was absolutely my favorite hike in Park City.

I was having a grand ol’ time minding my own business when, for the first time, I saw the turnoff for Mid-Mountain. Could the Holy Grail of Park City backcountry be near? I checked my watch; I was running out of time. I was determined to get as far as I could and, if needs be, turn around. I ran into two women who’d just returned from Mid-Mountain and I breathlessly asked how much farther. They checked their altimeter. “You have about 1 mile to go.” I kicked it into high-gear with a faster hiking pace and nothing, NOTHING could have prepared me for what awaited me when I turned the last bend to see the very cradle of the mountain in a pathway of golds and greens.

Mid-Mountain was everything I’d dreamed of…and so much more. I could have explored for hours but I was on deadline. For the first time in over a year, I ran. At first, I was tentative to spare my knee but after a few minutes, the familiar rhythm returned to me and I blissfully raced down the mountain, rejoicing how much I missed this freedom of flight and I NEEDED to get back into it.

Until I woke up the next morning and realized I had twisted my uninjured knee and it took me a full week to recover. But you’d better believe Mid-Mountain was worth it.

A Life in Limbo

FRUSTRATION. I typed up an awesome blog post about all the things we’ve loved about living in Park City and it has completely disappeared from WordPress. Such is life when living in limbo! Sure, I’ve spent 20+ hours a week chauffeuring kids around but my gosh, how blessed are we to live in such an amazing place!

So, I’ll make a feeble tempt to recreate all the things we’ve loved about living in Park City.

1) 45 days of sunrises. The kids and I leave the townhome every morning at 7 a.m. to drive to the Heber Valley and every day is like unwrapping a gift. The morning we were greeted with a rainbow-sunrise directly behind our condo was something I’ll never forget but we’ve seen it all: fog, rain, cotton-candy clouds and the evolution of summer to fall. The kids and I have fallen in love with this area through its sunrises.

2) So many amazing adventures. I’ve long loved Park City in winter and summer but fall is somethin’ else. Details forthcoming.

3) My favorite drive is Old Ranch Road past $million$ mansions, expansive farmlands and a gorgeous mountain backdrop.

4) Crack bread. ‘Nuff said.

5) New friendships with the Mosses, Severesons, Lexi and Sheri while celebrating the old by hosting Kristen, the Taylors, Waddells, Porters and my in-laws.

6) The best of both worlds. Park City has grown from the cowtown of yesteryear to a place that has still maintained its small-town feel with incredible recreation while also boasting great amenities.

7) Farmer’s markets on Wednesdays just down the street and my pluot addiction with Smith’s Orchards.

8) Riding the funicular at the St. Regis and the “S’mores Sommelier.”

9) This luxury townhome. Truly, my friend Kristen has been a huge blessing to let us rent and there are so many things I’ll miss: *The  (count ‘em) FOUR fireplaces (one in each bedroom), hot tubbing under the stars, swimming in the expansive pool, watching movies on a rainy night with homemade chicken noodle soup, s’mores in the outdoor firepit, each bedroom’s huge closet, private balcony and bathroom, fun parties, snuggling up to the fireplace with Bode, the gourmet kitchen and a truly magical place to live in limbo.

We couldn’t be more grateful.

We’re CLOSED (and that’s a good thing!)

We officially closed on our home today and will move in Saturday!

We’re relieved to finally be able to settle in but our time in Park City will forever be treasured. October has always been my favorite month but in the mountains, fall’s splendor comes earlier. I was momentarily sad to think about how much I love October in Denver but then I realized I’d take a hundred Park City Septembers over one Denver October. Autumn leave are nature’s stained glass here. Golds. Scarlets. Mahoganies. Russets. Whether in moody muted light or brightly lighted, we have relished Park City’s fall in all its deciduous glory.

I’m fiercely independent (I wonder where Hadley gets it from) but this move has been a lesson in humility as I’ve had to ask for help. I could not have survived the last 45 days without these two. Kristen for renting us her glorious townhome and acquainting me with Park City’s wonders. Sarah for saving me 50+ hours in the car by taking Bode in the mornings and to soccer. I’ve been missing my Colorado tribe something fierce but I am so grateful to the many new friends who are selflessly helping us build our new life. 

As I was driving the kids to school, Jamie called to tell me we would be able to close today and asked if I would go to the house and take some pictures of what was finally ours. At almost the exact moment it became official.

Terrible lighting of our cute blue door

View from our deck

Deck View Part 2

Panorama shot makes our deck look huge (it’s not)

Kids’ view near the neighborhood bus stop

Ours. It’s been 10 months and coming but it’s good to be (almost) home.

Updates, updates, updates

I’m writing this on Tuesday, Sept 27, 2016. We were supposed to move to our house on October 1st but it didn’t happen.  There is still so much to be done.   They just barely got started on the deck last night, the cabinets aren’t finished, we’re battling them on our sloped sidewalk and a myriad of other last-minute headaches. The good news: they painted the house the wrong color and corrected that without much backlash. I say that because we’ve received push-back on so so so many of their design center staffers’ communication screw-ups and we’ve had to eat the cost. Remind me to never build again.


We’ve been doing this Park City to Heber to Midway commute for about six weeks now and though the days are long, the weeks are short. I will truly miss our glorious townhome at the base of The Canyons and even more glorious Park City in the fall. Here are a few of our happenings.

Bode. Still slowly getting settled and it’s surprising to me how long it’s taking him to make meaningful connections because he finds BFFs everywhere he goes. Spoke in church a couple of weeks ago and I got a glimpse at the dynamic of the boys his age: pretty unruly. For a rule-abiding kid like Bode, this isn’t a great fit. He hangs with my friend Sarah’s three boys in the morning before school and has fun with them; hopefully more friends will follow soon after our move. Academically, he’s doing great. He was selected as one of two students from his class to attend the “Math Bus,” which is essentially an advanced math outing every month at the high school. He proudly says that the kids check their math answers against his for their corrections, a great compliment, indeed.  I received the following email from his Assistant Principal today: “I just wanted to let you know that Bode’s name was drawn out in our Mustang Buck drawing this morning.  I appreciate the great things he does each day to earn those Mustang Bucks.  I am so glad to have students like Bode at TIS.  He stands out as an example to other students.” Straight-A report card at mid-term.

Hadley. Still settling in surprisingly well (maybe I should have prayed harder for the rest of us and not just her? :-) She attended her science club field trip to UVU on Saturday, has been hanging out with her new friend Zoie and is somehow juggling her busy middle school schedule. Zoie is my new hero when, being bullied by a boy at school who called her a weakling (among other things), she countered: “Can YOU lift more than your weight and mountain bike for miles?” Hadley has taken a new interest in her appearance, watching a lot of hair and make-up tutorials on YouTube. This is fine and dandy except her room and bathroom constantly look like a bomb exploded. Our new house isn’t move-in ready so she’ll be cramped for a while. We have three small bedrooms on the main level so she will be temporarily living in what will become my den while we hire someone to finish two rooms in the basement ASAP. We’ll then boot her to the basement and Jamie’s office will be next to her.

Jamie. Rock star. Despite having a multi-week rheumatism attack, barely sleeping and a lot of back pain, he’s been a warrior through this whole process. He’s been on the front lines of battles with our builder to get everything right and handles all the documentation with the exception of setting up all our utilities, which he put me in charge of. Translation: we’ll probably end up without power, water and sanitation. Surprised me with a lovely romantic lunch he grilled of steaks, scallop and shrimp with roses. This guy is a keeper.

Me. After suffering a “what am I supposed to do with my career” panic attack last week, I’m feeling temporarily peaceful knowing now is not the time to worry about jobs and that we just need to get settled. Missing Colorado daily (especially all the amazing event invites I’m getting) but am truly happy most of the time to live in Park City. I’m a pretty simplistic person; put me in a beautiful place with lots of trails to explore and I’m good.

Here’s for hoping all goes well with this crazy move of ours!

Serendipitous Deer Valley

the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
“a fortunate stroke of serendipity”

Have you ever had an evening of happy little coincidences? Welcome to our first Girl’s Night Out since moving to Utah!

Let me back up a bit. I was in a bit of a funk. Fall is usually my favorite time of the year and that very week was usually our big pumpkin party and weigh-off when we were surrounded by fun and friends. I was missing our wonderful life in Colorado.

The boys had a father-son campout with our new ward so I determined I was going to invite some of the ladies and Hadley’s new friends over to our Park City townhome for swimming and dinner. The problem: I only got around to inviting Sarah, who has been my lifesaver with watching Bode in the mornings before school. So we decided rather than staying in, we would go out! The week prior, my Kristen (the wonderful gal from whom we’re renting the townhome) took me on a tour of Park City and included in that tour was Deer Valley. I determined that was where we would go.

Deer Valley is the Aspen of Utah, tucked amongst forested slopes with luxe accommodations. Hadley, Sarah and I had dinner lakeside at the Deer Valley Grocery~Café, a casual yet delicious eatery (the turkey panini with roasted rhubarb chutney, Cabot white cheddar, tarragon aioli, fresh arugula, housemade wild rice harvest bread was delicious).

From there, we rode up the free funicular (mountain rail-car) to four-star St. Regis Hotel, nestled above Snow Park in Deer Valley, and hit the trails. Lo, did we hit the trails.

As we marveled at the gorgeous fall colors, Sarah (an ace photographer) gave Hadley some tips as gawked northward towards Park City and Deer Valley and eastward to the Jordanelle Valley.

We continued our explorations back to the hotel and saw a glowing firepit in the distance. We headed toward the light and settled by the fire and acknowledged a young woman selling s’mores but we were still full from dinner. When some hotel guests arrived (with whom Sarah had common friends in Chicago), we gave into the temptation and that is when our lives changed forever. The staffer, Michelle, was a s’mores sommelier who taught us the art form of stuffed chocolate s’mores. Dripping peanut butter cup smores. And s’mores cakepops.

All this while our boys were at the father-son campout eating half-cooked hot dogs.

Nothing like girl’s night out for the win!

The Lakehouse

It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year: The Lakehouse in Vernon, B.C. For one glorious week, we unplug, boat, play games, watch movies on the beach, eat oodles of fruit pies from Davison Orchards and just relax. It wouldn’t be possible without my brother Pat and his wife Jane who tirelessly cart us around on their boat without complaint and do 99% of the planning leading up to the trip.

This year, the theme was wakesurfing. Hadley was moderately obsessed with beating her dear old mom in the water, which doesn’t take much. She rocked it!

It was also fun to see Bode take to wakesurfing as well (with Jane’s help positioning his board in the water).

I showed some signs of improvement and even jumped in for a run fully-clothed when I had an unexpected chance to go. Getting up has always been my biggest struggle and was able to do it the first try every day until the final one when the water was choppy. I should have quit while I was ahead!

The kids spent hours upon hours playing off the dock.

In fact, I barely saw Hadley the entire week. Bode and I bunked with my parents while she slept in another unit with Cousin Emily. When Hadley wasn’t on the boat, I’d see her swimming with cousins or by herself and relaxing in the hammocks. As much as she enjoys people, she truly loves just being by herself as well.

She introduced a game to us called “Never Have I Ever” where everyone takes a turn saying something they have never done. I.e. “Never have I ever worn a dress.” Anyone who has done that thing has to take a piece of candy but if you swallow it, you lose. The winner is the last person standing.

My mouth was literally bursting with gummy bear juice and I was one of the first to spit out my candy. Some call me a loser; I say that was for the win. No one was funnier than Ashton.

Just thinking about it makes my teeth ache!

I rarely took my phone on the boat because of my little incident a few months ago during my adventure race with Bode where I landed in the dunk and ruined it. The threat of Jamie kept it far, far away from the water.

We had our annual family dive-off. Usually we go over to the West Side but we’re getting too big (fat?) to all fit on the boat so we did it off the dock. As usual, Pat stayed under the longest. His 44-year-long winning streak is really getting old.

Pat’s friend Todd always invites us over for movie night on his beach and it’s one of our favorite traditions. This year, we watched the Addams Family and conditions could not have been more pristine. As Bode gazed at the sky, he marveled “Mom, will we be able to see the stars like this when we move to Midway?” You’d better believe it.

Ashton cut our hair while Emily gave Hadley a makeover. Good thing Jamie wasn’t there because he would have had nightmares about her future suitors.

Twelve going on 22.

In the evenings, we wound down by playing lots of card games.

And it was great just to chill out together.


The week wasn’t perfect by any means. Mom was scary-sick after the long drive. There were some good, old-fashioned meltdowns but overall, I couldn’t be more blessed than to call these people Family.

Here’s to the sun setting on another great year at the lake.

A week at play in the greatest city on earth

My original plan: Put the house on the market in early Spring. Sell. Spend most of the summer in Utah and Canada.

What happened: Didn’t move until the 11th hour before school started. Endured a lot of stress but also extra time with wonderful Colorado friends.

And Canada. What would I do without my annual trip home for the summer? We usually spend most of July in Calgary and at the Lakehouse in B.C. Due to our unknown schedule, my family accommodated bumping the Lakehouse back a week so the kids and I could come. Jamie, unfortunately, stayed in Denver to hold down the fort. You know, the one that wasn’t selling.

A major factor in making this trip happen is my mom’s MS has grown from bad to worse and I know this would likely be the last time she could travel. Not only has her physical condition deteriorated but mentally as well and it’s so difficult to see my beautiful mother barely coherent. That said, I’m so grateful for her lucid moments and the time we got to spend with the family.

Every year, my dad has a family reunion for his side of the family and every year, I’ve missed it due to the timing. So, this time around I was delighted to become reacquainted with them. Pat and Jane had everyone over for a glorious dinner where they cooked pizzas in their new pizza oven.

I have only one cousin on my dad’s side of the family (and just one on my mom’s) so it was awesomely fun to meet my cousin Richard for the first time. Shamefully, I didn’t get a picture of him but he just got his PhD and was in town competing in the Ironman. So, pretty much he takes after me in every way.

Calgary is the best city in the world and despite rain when we first arrived, we had a blast at the Calgary Stampede with my bestie Stacey. As a favor to her, I didn’t take any pictures (you’re welcome, dearie) but I present unto you Bode. With Beaver Balls. You can’t make this (Canadian) stuff up.

Beaver Balls. Yes, that’s a thing.

Bode braved his first upside-down ride, the Brain Drain.

Despite three years of coaxing them, Hadley still refuses to do it and that’s the good thing about her. No amount of bribery or pressure will make her do something she doesn’t want to do. That’s also the bad thing about her.

Usually my dad and I go on daily bike rides through Fish Creek Provincial Park but this year, I didn’t bring my bike, he didn’t have time to borrow my brother Pat’s and so we just went on a lot of individual bike rides including my annual 30 miler.

Bow River

I’ve long told the kids life is too short to live somewhere ugly. Growing up in Calgary set the bar incredibly high.

Usually we celebrate Bode’s birthday at the Lakehouse but since we bumped it back a week, Jane threw a wonderful 10th birthday soiree at her house with pizza and a movie in their awesome home theater.

We went on lots of walks with the dogs to the playground and Grandma came along for one of our adventures.

Not even 24 hours after my brother Jade and his boys arrived, the cops came knocking on our door. A neighbor busted the kids for golf carting in the gully.

The infamous gully


Jade and I introduced our little American offspring to the wonders of 5-pin bowling, followed by My Favorite Ice Cream Shoppe.

And, of course, the hallowed MUD PITS. My niece Emily came along for the first time and was a wonderful sport despite slipping down the mountainside and landing in a tree. Never a dull moment, I tell ya!


Hadley and Jade: Tough mudders

We cleaned off in Fish Creek and played for a while before walking to Annie’s for ice cream.

All in all, we had a fabulous week with my dad’s siblings and the rest of our family. I stayed behind an extra day with my dad in Calgary while he wrapped the family reunion and to help him with the 9-hour drive to Vernon. Bode drove over with Jade while Hadley rode with the girls. The boys won for this stopover at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park.

Canada wins for lack of ugliness but the boys lose for those expressions.


Adjusting to the adjustments

First World Problems. That’s what I keep reminding myself when I’m tempted to whine and complain about this wild ride my family has been on living in limbo while our house is being finished. It doesn’t help that I haven’t been feeling well with allergies and teeth pain. I’m hoping for a reprieve on many, many levels.

The frustrating

The commute. So much driving. I’m in the car a minimum of four hours per day. Jamie had a business trip in AZ for five days and I miraculously survived (though I’ve averaged one meltdown per week; usually a nap in the back of the car assuages nervous breakdowns).

I miss Colorado. I spent more than a decade building friendships and an awesome online and offline community. I’ve been blessed with an amazing team of writers who are handling all the on-the-ground coverage while I manage everything else (advertising, editorial calendar, etc.). But here’s the problem: I love all those trips, VIP pre-screenings, restaurant openings, etc. It’s tough not to feel depressed after repeatedly turning down invites; that’s why I started blogging in the first place.

Lack of direction. I have no doubts we were supposed to move to Utah but until we can get settled in our house and I have some time, my hands are tied with pursuing new career paths. I put out some feelers for freelance magazine writing with my former editors and already heard back, only to realize I have zero time to travel and pursue these opportunities. Patience, little grasshopper. I’d really like to get back into Utah’s travel and tourism industry but have no idea what that will look like.

The “coming along”

Friendships are slowly forming.

Hadley is probably adjusting better than any of us and has joined the Science Club, has a group of friends at school and has bonded with the girls in our ward.

Bode was really attached to our life in Colorado and despite usually being able to make friends immediately, he has been slower to form meaningful connections. He is extremely frustrated by this but I have no worries once we’re finally in our house, he’ll make a lot of friends in our neighborhood.

Jamie. Lives in the basement working all day. So, not much has changed from his days in Colorado.

Me.  I’ve met some really great ladies and we’ve been on some adventures together. Have passed out in the backseat of the car more times than I’d care to admit. #Survivalmode

The awesome

As bi-polar as I feel about being here (“I love this place!” “What the crap” are we doing here?) the good far outweigh the bad.

I’m driving back and forth to the Heber Valley several times a day but we’ve been privileged to watch fall unfold in all its crimson magnificence. Truly, the 30-minute drive from Park City to Heber is gorgeous x 100. The kids and I listen to Audible or the scriptures, talk about nothing or everything and marvel at the mountain majesty that surrounds us.

Our luxury 3-story townhome. On Wednesdays, I stroll down to the farmer’s market at Canyons Village to eat peach cobbler ice cream, pluots, peaches and corn on the cob.

New adventures. Though I’m itching to explore the Heber Valley, I can’t pass up the opportunity to tackle Park City while we’re living here. I have had a grand time hiking and biking in my spare time, often with new friends.


We are supposed to be closing on our house next week but a lot of things need to happen before then. A deck. Cabinets. Carpet. Driveway. Fingers are crossed it will all go down according to schedule. This time in Park City has been a lot like new motherhood: the days are loooong but the weeks are short.

Here’s to starting a new adventure!